When I received a request from Patricia Pfost to write about Reiki for the Barbara Brennan School of Healing (BBSH) newsletter, I was very excited. I view this as an opportunity to reconnect with the BBSH community and alumni and receive your comments and questions, especially from others who may be exploring the integration of these two healing modalities (see contact information below).
I was initiated in First and Second Degree Reiki in the spring of 1994, and Third Degree Reiki a few months later, the fall following my BBSH graduation. Since then, I have been intrigued with exploring the differences between the two systems, and how they may be applied and integrated in my healing practice. I also have been teaching Reiki with the Reiki attunements, and learning more about how the Reiki system works. I will give some general information about the Reiki system, as well as my own experiences and observations as an Integrated Brennan Healing Science (BHS)-Reiki practitioner, Reiki Master Teacher, and former BBSH faculty member.
“Reiki” is the Japanese word for “Universal Life Force Energy”. It is the same energy referred to as Chi by Chinese, Prana by Yogis, Light by Christians, and Bioplasmic Energy by Russian scientists. The Reiki healing system is based on ancient Tibetan Buddhist Sutras, which were rediscovered in the mid-1800s by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan, and brought to the US in the mid-1930s by Mrs. Hawayo Takata. There are hundreds of Reiki Masters, and thousands of Reiki practitioners worldwide.
Since we all have access to the Universal Life Force Energy through our own chakras, theoretically anyone can lay their hands on another person and help accelerate the healing process by transferring bio-electromagnetic energy. What makes the Reiki system unique is that the Reiki healer receives a series of attunements (also called initiations) which fine-tunes their physical and spiritual bodies to a higher vibratory level, and creates a Reiki channel (or etheric tube) through the seventh chakra. The Reiki channel is controlled by the healer’s intentionality, and is created via the ancient sacred Reiki symbols of the attunement process, not via the healer’s own energy system.
The attunement process is a sacred ceremony in which the Reiki Master is assisted by Reiki Master guides to impart the Reiki symbols, or keys to Reiki, into the student’s aura, including the chakra roots at the vertical power current on the fourth-through- seventh levels, thereby creating the Reiki channel (etheric tube) on those levels, according to my perception. The Reiki Master guides feel very haric to me, with very strong, clear intentionality, somewhat like the fifth level guides described in Hands of Light. When the Reiki Master Empowerment symbol is activated during the Third Degree attunements, it seems to me that the symbols drop beyond the auric level into the hara line itself. When the Reiki channel is activated, it appears to spiral in a counter-clockwise direction, similar to the double helix of DNA. The activated Reiki channel also seems to have some connection to the activated Kundalini channel, or Shushumna, perhaps relating to the descending Kundalini (Shiva) which originates at the incarnation point above the head, rather than the ascending Kundalini (Shakti) at the sacrum.
The initiation process is taught in three steps, with time between training levels for the Reiki student to clear blocks through self-healing and integrate at the new vibratory level. Each of the three levels, also referred to as Degrees, usually requires one or two days of training with a Reiki Master Teacher, with daily practice recommended between Degrees. Generally, I teach Reiki I, then six months later Reiki II, then twelve months later Reiki III, and twelve months later Master Teacher Training for those who want to teach others. There is usually an informal mentoring, or supervision process, for teacher trainees. For BHS healers, the time between initiations may be compressed, in my estimation, due to all the personal clearing and integration work they have already done at BBSH.
The four energetic attunements for First Degree Reiki work on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, helping to prepare the physical body and the chakra system for higher energy frequencies. A student’s experience of the attunement process seems to vary depending on how much personal work has been done. The clearing process may include physical, emotional, mental, and karmic cleansing, and may continue for several weeks. The attunement process permanently opens a clear channel for Reiki to flow, as the fourth attunement seals the channel on the seventh level. The channel appears to me as an etheric tube going into the crown chakra down through the heart chakra, and out through the arms and hand chakras.
The focus for Reiki I is on self-healing, for it is with practice that the channel becomes stronger and clearer. The Reiki channel is uni-directional, and the channel is opened by the Reiki practitioner by intention. It feels similar to being in “allow” or “neutral” mode. Once opened, the Reiki channel stays open until the healing is complete or is intentionally closed. The Reiki healer need not continue their conscious focus or intention on the open channel. The Reiki energy first replenishes the Reiki practitioner and then is drawn through by the recipient, as much as they need. No belief system is necessary for the client, just a willingness to receive the energy. The Reiki energy is “intelligent” in that it is goes where it is needed, not controlled or directed by the practitioner.
For Second Degree Reiki, the three Reiki sacred symbols, or keys, are activated for the student. The vibratory frequency and power are higher at this level. The Reiki healer learns to use the symbols, allowing a deeper healing on the emotional/mental levels, and also for long-distance healing. The long-distance symbol creates an etheric tube on the fifth level of the field, in my perception, and may be used to transcend time and/or space for healing others and/or for self-healing. Once the long-distance channel is created by use of the symbol and intention of the healer, the healer need not continue to focus on the connection, for it is held open by the symbol until intentionally closed. I have personally experimented with using the long-distance symbol in self-healings, and experienced a deeper connection to self, especially useful in healing areas of separation.
My personal experience in receiving the attunements was very subtle for the First and Second Degrees (which I received near the end of my BBSH senior year). However, after the Third Degree attunement the following fall, I experienced greatly improved clarity and focusing ability in my sixth-chakra sight and my mind screen. As I give attunements to others in my Reiki training sessions, I have also experienced renewed awakening of my Kundalini and closer contact with the Reiki Master guides.
In my private healing practice, I find that the majority of my clients come to me asking for Reiki, either because they have heard/read about it, or a doctor or other health-care professional has referred them to me for Reiki healing. It seems that Reiki has become the generic term for energy healing, at least in Rhode Island. Hospitals in this area are starting Integrative Care Centers, generally to support pain management for oncology patients. The hospitals are requiring a Reiki Master certificate for energy workers. A recent PubMed search on the keyword “Reiki” produced sixty research articles. The recent Mar/Apr 2002 issue of Alternative Therapies presents research from the University of Texas Health Science Center on “Experience of a Reiki Session”.
Once I got over the indignation that Reiki, with its simple training and methodology, has greater name recognition than my four years of training in Brennan Healing Science at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, I realized that Reiki creates safety for clients due to its familiarity. I could then allow Reiki to be the access point for clients to come to me to learn more about BHS if they choose to do so. I offer my clients an integrated healing session, as I use the Reiki symbols and allow Reiki to flow as I continue with chelation and other BHS techniques. In my experience, blocks seem to dissolve more readily and the energy field integrates more easily when using Reiki in coordination with BHS.
For self-healing and working with friends and family, Reiki is wonderful. My first Reiki self-healing occurred when driving to BBSH after my Reiki I-II training. I had strained my left hand with my luggage, reactivating an old, very painful tendonitis. Using the Reiki symbols and using the hand position for removing inflammation, I treated the injured hand (which was holding the steering wheel) with my other hand. Within a few minutes, the pain was gone, never to return. I often turn Reiki on while I practice my morning yoga and find that it helps to release blocks. My students find Reiki useful with their families: helping a husband relax and relieve his stress headache, helping an active child fall asleep, relieving anxiety about world tensions. The opportunities for integrating Reiki healing into everyday life are endless. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a BHS-Reiki integration created a healing vibration effecting other global separations?
However, I do not feel that the Reiki training alone is sufficient for someone to start a professional healing practice. The concern that I share with those whom I train in Reiki is that the Reiki training does not adequately address the healer-client relationship, such as transference, boundaries, psychodynamics, and other complex issues. I recommend if they are drawn to being a professional healer, that they continue their studies with a four-year professional healing school like the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. Reiki practitioners who have come to me for Reiki III training generally have other professional training such as psychotherapy, physical therapy, massage therapy, or BHS, and they often integrate Reiki with their current professional practice.
copyright 2002 M. Gordon-Johanson